December 10, 2010, 12:15 PM

Online marketers spend more in the third quarter

Return on investment also improved, a DMA survey says.

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Spending on search marketing and site optimization increased 3.7% in the third quarter of 2010 compared with the same period last year, suggests a report released this week by the Direct Marketing Association.

The trade group worked with consulting firm the Winterberry Group on the Quarterly Business Review, which is based on 448 survey responses from members of the Direct Marketing Association.

Survey respondents also said that their marketing organizations spent 3.8% more on e-mail in the third quarter compared with the same period last year. Mobile marketing spending also increased 3.8% year over year, the report says. Spending on online display ads and banners grew 3.5% year over year. Growth rates for such non-digital forms of marketing as print media and catalogs generally were slightly lower than for online channels.

“Marketers continue to emphasize digital channels in their media investment,” the report says.

Survey respondents also reported that the return on investment for digital marketing efforts improved during the third quarter of 2010. For instance, e-mail return on investment increased 3.4% in the third quarter when compared to the second quarter of 2010. The return on investment for search marketing efforts also increased 3.4%.

Direct mail, meanwhile, had a 3.1% increase in return on investment, while print efforts registered a 2.9% increase. “We don't use direct mail at all, and catalogs are practically a thing of the past,” says one marketer who responded to the survey. “We use digital marketing.”

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